No criminal offense involved in deaths on Bournemouth beach | UK News

Sunnah Khan and Joseph Abbess lost their lives after struggling in the water (Picture: PA)

Sunnah Khan and Joseph Abbess lost their lives after struggling in the water (Picture: PA)

No criminal offenses have been committed in connection with the deaths of two people Bournemouth beach in May, police said.

Sunnah Khan, 12, from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire and Joseph Abbess, 17, from Southampton, got into difficulty at sea off the Dorset coast on May 31.

Eight other people were rescued from the water.

A man in his 40s who was initially arrested on suspicion of manslaughter will face no further action, Dorset Police said tonight.

A force spokesperson said: ‘Following a full and detailed investigation, officers have come to a position to make the decision based on the evidence that no criminal offense has been committed’ .

“No further action will be taken with respect to a man who has been arrested in connection with this incident. He was fully released from the investigation.

“While the criminal investigation was ongoing, only a limited amount of information could be made public. This was due to the requirement to protect the integrity of the investigation.

Two youths died and eight people were rescued in the incident (Picture: PA)
An RNLI lifeguard places a flag on the seafront at Bournemouth beach (Picture: PA)

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council have banned all boat operations pending the outcome of the police investigation.

The Dorset Belle, a 78ft passenger vessel, was seized following the tragedy.

Island Cruises Ltd, owners of the Dorset Belle, have sworn never to return to Bournemouth, The mirror reports.

Detective Chief Superintendent Neil Corrigan said tonight: “During the emergency response that followed [the incident on May 31]information was given to police that the movement of a boat – the Dorset Belle – immediately before the incident could have contributed to dangerous sea conditions.

“Witnesses suggested there had been similar issues with the vessel having created such problems before.”

He added: “Based on this information, an investigation has been launched. It was important that all relevant evidence be seized.

Undated City College Southampton handout photo of trainee chef Joe Abbess, 17, who drowned with Sunnah Khan, 12, in the Dorset seaside resort on May 31.  An inquest into the deaths of the two youngsters was opened in Bournemouth on Monday.  and heard they were part of a group of people who were allegedly caught in an eddy in the sea near the pier.  Issue date: Tuesday June 6, 2023. PA Photo.  Post-mortem tests revealed they both died by drowning, the inquest said before coroner Rachael Griffin adjourned proceedings for a rehearing in September.  See PA story Bournemouth POLICE.  Photo credit should read: City College Southampton/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This photo may only be used for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or people in the image or the facts mentioned in the caption.  Reuse of the image may require additional permission from the copyright holder.

Joseph Abbess was among a group of people believed to have been caught in a riptide (Picture: PA)
Stephanie Williams and daughter Sunnah Khan (Picture: PA)

“Therefore, it was appropriate to examine the boat and determine the actions of the operator. Following the examination, the boat was released.

“In order to fully understand whether the boat could have been a contributing factor, it was necessary to ask an expert to examine the evidence collected by the police.

“It was simply not possible to make a decision in this case without expert advice. The commissioned expert needed time to review the evidence and also to take into account the prevailing tide and weather conditions at the time as well as the shoreline topography at the location.

“In addition, a large number of witnesses were interviewed and multiple sources of CCTV and cellphone footage were reviewed.

“With all the evidence available, we are now able to confirm that we do not believe the movement of the Dorset Belle contributed to the incident.”

Sunnah’s mother Stephanie Williams told Good Morning Britain (GMB) how her late daughter thought she was in a quiet place at sea where it was safe.

‘They [Sunnah and her brother] were between the flags on the beach. They then ended up where they couldn’t hit rock bottom,’ the A&E nurse said.

“They said a wave came. They started screaming for help. A lifeguard pulled my son out of the water but they couldn’t locate Sunnah.

“She was washed. They had started trying to come back but they couldn’t.

What should I do if I’m caught in a riptide?

Lifeguards from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) are trained to recognize tears and mark out a safe swimming area depending on sea conditions.

If you get caught in a tear, the charity recommends:

  • keep calm – don’t panic
  • if you can stand, wade don’t swim
  • keep your board or inflatable to help you float
  • raise your hand and call for help
  • never try to swim directly against the tear or you will get exhausted
  • swim parallel to the beach until freed from the tear, then head towards shore
  • If you see someone else in trouble, alert lifeguards or call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

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